We understand that COVID-19 can create worry and distress for people in the university community. At ISH, we are collating guidance and developing resources to support you with this. We hope to update this page regularly with new information as it becomes available.
As the situation develops and new information becomes available, we will do our best to keep this page updated.
Please follow NHS advice and Government guidance for up-to-date information as the situation continues to develop. Your University or Students’ Union may issue additional guidance relevant to your local context. If you are planning on travelling, or have been travelling, you can also check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance on COVID-19.
Looking after your mental health
You might find yourself feeling worried about the spread of coronavirus and its impact on you and your loved ones. These feelings are normal and it’s important we acknowledge them and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. For more specific guidance on how to look after your mental health while staying at home see the websites below.
There are steps you can take to look after your mental health and wellbeing. A number of organisations have published guidance on mental health considerations relating to the coronavirus outbreak, including:
Guidance for those with ongoing mental health difficulties
For some people, the coronavirus outbreak may trigger compulsive thoughts and unhelpful behaviours, particularly if you have pre-existing conditions such as an anxiety disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. If you are receiving support for your condition, you might find it helpful to talk to your clinician, therapist, or other medical professionals. There are also an increasing number of online resources available for you.
Various organisations have produced guidance for those who have existing mental health conditions:
- Anxiety UK: “Health and other forms of anxiety and coronavirus”
- BBC: “Coronavirus: How to manage Anxiety and OCD during the pandemic”
- Beat Eating Disorders: “Eating Disorders and Coronavirus”
- OCD-UK: “OCD and Coronavirus Top Tips”
Staying at home and your mental health
Currently, everybody in the UK is being asked to stay at home except for certain specific reasons. The prospect of not being able to leave your house much, if at all, may be upsetting, and could impact your mental health. This is why it is important you take proactive steps to give yourself a sense of normality, maintain a routine, and do things you enjoy. Some examples of things you can do include:
- Stay in touch – keep in contact with your family and friends, you can still connect from a distance – call your friend, have a video-call catch up with your family or check in with someone on social media.
- Continue the things you enjoy – try reading that book you’ve been meaning to start, watch that new series or try a new skill.
- Get into a daily routine – you might find it helpful to plan out your time in advance and know what you are doing each day, so you have something to look forward to.
- Look after your personal environment – create a space that you are able to enjoy and feel comfortable in.
- Take a break from social media if you need to – if the updates are getting too much it is okay to take a step back.
- Check in with your university, students’ union and ISH Staff members – this will help you to understand any changes to your course and assessments, where you can go for support and institution specific updates.
As an international student you may have lots of questions about what the Covid-19 pandemic means for you. For instance, you may be concerned about your visa status, attendance monitoring, your accommodation or what happens with your tuition fees.
We recommend that you keep in touch with your university, your students’ union, and Dr Bolton, who will be able to provide assistance specific to your situation. This applies whether you have remained in the UK or returned to your home country.
UKCISA have produced guidance to support UK international students which is being updated regularly.
Xenophobia and racism following COVID-19 concerns
We are aware during this period of uncertainty and worry that there have been multiple reports of incidents of xenophobic and racist violence across the UK, particularly against people of East Asian origin. Hate and discrimination is never acceptable. If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of any kind of hate crime, report it and seek support if you need it.
Be sure to familiarise yourself with ISH’s policies regarding misconduct, discrimination and violence and follow the guidance accordingly. You should be able to find guidance on where & how to report incidents and where & how to receive support on your university’s and Students’ Union’s websites too.
Supporting your friends and family
During this time it is really important that we are all looking out for each other. Here are some things you can do to support your loved ones:
- Reach out – stay connected with people even if you can’t see each other in person – send a text, make a call or be inventive online with your university community.
- Check in – ask how this is affecting your friends and family and if there is anything you can do to help each other. Check-in with those who might be at more of risk during this time to see if there is anything you can do to help.
- Stay informed – make sure you are following and sharing reliable information from trusted sources (NHS)